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Richard Park leaves the NHL to sign three-year deal with Swiss team

Sep 9, 2010, 4:33 PM EST

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richardpark1.jpgThe free agent crunch has been a theme we’ve hit from all sides this summer and yet another player is packing his things up and heading to Europe after being unable to land a deal in the NHL. Former Wild and Islanders forward Richard Park is packing his bags to join the Swiss Elite League.

Coach Chris McSorley says the 34-year-old winger chose Geneva-Servette over NHL and European teams.

McSorley tells The Associated Press he spoke with the Islanders’ Swiss defenceman Mark Streit about Park before making him the top off-season acquisition. The club lost to Bern in the Swiss playoff finals last season in game seven.

It’s tough to see useful players like Park leave the NHL but this is just how it goes these days. While Park isn’t a superstar by any means, his work in a checking role and on the penalty kill was always top-notch. Getting squeezed out of a job in the NHL stinks for guys like Park. What the effect it will have on those roles in the NHL remains to be seen.

Clearly many teams feel that roles like this can be assumed by those from within the organization or for less money via free agency. We’ll have to wait and see if it pans out or if NHL teams will indeed be hoping to bring back players like Richard Park to take care of those roles.

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